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Average wages fell 0.8% y/y in January, recording a 10th straight drop following a 3.0% fall in December. Real wages also remained in negative territory, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Total monthly average cash earnings per regular employee fell 0.8% y/y to JPY272,972 in January.

In real terms, average wages fell 0.1% y/y in January, the 11th straight drop following a 1.7% decline in December. Total CPI minus impute rents fell 0.7% y/y in January after falling 1.4% in December.

Base wages, the key to a steady recovery in cash earnings, rose 0.3% y/y after falling 0.1% in December for the first rise in three months.

Overtime pay fell 6.6% y/y in January, slowing from -8.6% previously.

The fall was mainly due to a drop in overtime working hours (-8.0% y/y in January vs. -7.6% in December) amid weak economic activities in service businesses caused by the pandemic impact.

Bonuses and other special pay fell 12.7% y/y in January for the ninth straight drop following December's 5.1% fall.